Disobeying a rule that Smith should be allowed no female visitors, a curious nurse named Gillian Boardman ("Jill") sneaks into Smith's room. Pretending she is there to perform standard nursing duties, she offers Smith a glass of water. He is uncertain, but believes that she is offering to partake in the Martian custom of "water-sharing," a spiritual rite in which two souls grow closer. Honored, he takes a sip of the water, and insists that she do the same.
Fascinated, Smith asks Jill if she is, as he suspects, a woman. He asks her questions about her gender, to which she eventually replies that she is not about to take off her clothes and show him everything. Smith is confused by her teases. He would like for her to disrobe and teach him, but he does not want to upset her and he has trouble interpreting her mood.
Newspaper columnist Ben Caxton, with whom Jill has had a longstanding flirtation, has her over to his apartment for dinner to ply her for information about Smith. Jill tells Ben about her encounter with Smith, and Ben is delighted, half-jokingly asking her to marry him. Ben tells Jill that, by various legal precedents, Smith is the legal inheritor of the fortunes of all of the Envoy crewmembers, which is a vast amount of money. Furthermore, by a legal precedent known as the Larkin Decision, Smith is technically the owner of the planet Mars.
Ben fears that the government is keeping Smith away from the press so that they can control him. The future of the administration of Secretary General Douglas, essentially the political leader of the Earth, may depend on cooperation from Smith. Ben asks Jill to plant an audio bug in the hospital to monitor Smith's room, which she does.
The bug captures a conversation between Smith and Secretary General Douglas, who insists on being alone with Smith, causing Dr. Nelson to resign his post. Douglas tries to get Smith to sign a paper releasing any legal claim he has to ownership of Mars. Again, Smith is confused, and when Douglas tries to coerce him into putting a thumbprint on the document, Smith goes into one of his death- like trances.
Having written a column baiting Douglas' administration, Ben fears that his apartment has been bugged, so he and Jill go out to dinner. They discuss the possibility that it might be politically advantageous to Douglas to have Smith dead. Jill is overwhelmed by concern for Smith.